To his surprise, Junior has become one of the best players on the basketball team. He thinks it has something to do with confidence, and living up to expectations. Since their loss to Willpinit, the Reardan team has gone undefeated. His fellow teammates are becoming legendary in the town, and, although in some inexplicably way, he is still an outsider, Junior has hopes that someday, he will establish his own legacy, and the townspeople will be comparing some kid to him.
Reardan is scheduled to play Wellpinit again, this time at home. The Wellpinit team is unbeaten, and Rowdy is their star player. Reardan's coach decides to start Junior, and assigns him the job of guarding his old friend. Junior doesn't think he can do it, but Coach has faith in him, so Junior begins to have faith in himself too.
On the first play, Rowdy, intending to humiliate Reardan, gets the ball and races to the basket for a dunk. Determined, Junior outjumps Rowdy for the first time in his life and steals the ball as he is about to dunk. He then races across the court and outmaneuvers Rowdy to score a three-pointer. It is the defining moment in the game, and Reardan goes on to win in a rout.
Junior is the hero for Reardan's team, but when he sees the ragtag Wellpinit team watching as they celebrate their victory, he is ashamed. Junior remembers that the Reardan players have everything, and the Wellpinit boys have nothing, and that he has just "broken (his) best friend's heart". Fittingly, Reardan advances to the finals, but loses in a huge upset to an unknown, "tiny farm-town team" (Chapter 25).